Before meeting with my doctor the only “cleanse” I’d heard of was a juice cleanse, and I’d always assumed people who did those were a bit woo-woo because there is no universe in which I can survive on juice. You can jam pack that stuff with every super nutrient on the planet and it still won’t carry me through. I need actual food. Call me crazy.

So you can see why I was hesitant when my doctor said she wanted me to do a cleanse back in January. I’m all about getting some healthy going, but if that involves a liquid diet then we’ve got a serious flaw in the plan. Once she laid it all out, though, I was ready to give it a shot. On the plus side, the doc wasn’t saying juice would tide me over. On the other hand, my world was about to get really weird.

The objective: to flush toxins out of my body with a six day cleanse. That sounded like a lofty goal to me. The instructions said it would happen, but my body is naturally noncompliant so I had to stretch my cleanse out a bit longer. You’re probably normal, though, and would finish up in a week.

It helped that I’d already transitioned to the blood type A diet. The changes were spread out over a month, which turned out to be a big plus since we were disrupting some lifelong patterns. Chicken wasn’t okay? I mean, it isn’t bad for me, but it isn’t what they call beneficial. And no bananas or oranges? Seriously? Aren’t those healthy fruits?

But I’ve gotten ahead of myself. From me to you, here’s the real skinny on a detox cleanse.

You take natural supplements to support gastrointestinal regularity make sure you poop every day. This does not always work out well. That is all I have to say about that.

There are also gross drops you put on your tongue morning and night. These are called “Drainage,” which is pronounced “dray-nahh-je.” Really. It’s a French thing. But the drops do exactly what you think they do.

You’ll drink an ungodly amount of water. More water than you think a human body can hold, and technically you’d be right since you’ll be peeing like a racehorse. You’ll drink water until you’ll float away if your house suddenly flooded. So basically You = H²O. Embrace it. And always know where the bathroom is.

Then there’s the 347 food rules. Here are just a few.

It was a hard N-O to cheese, potatoes/peppers/tomatoes, corn (and any products containing corn which is freaking everything), canned vegetables, veggies made with a cheese or butter sauce, jam, bananas, cashews, watermelon, commercially prepared or tomato-based soups, milk, coffee (omg, WHAT did you just say?), tea, alcoholic beverages, soda, margarine/butter, peanut butter, brown sugar/honey/molasses/maple syrup/agave/fructose, salt, soy sauce, mayo/ketchup, balsamic or rice vinegar, salsa, and chili pepper/pepper flakes/paprika/cayenne. I was also told to eliminate gluten.

Some things that got a Y-E-S were almond milk, most fresh vegetables, clear vegetable-based broth, filtered water, caffeine- and citrus-free herbal tea, extra virgin olive oil, almonds, Stevia, and chives/cinnamon/garlic.

So let’s break this down. No caffeine, no coffee, no soda, no iced tea, no dairy, no sugar, no corn or corn products, and no gluten. I remember my first trip to the grocery store after starting this insanity adventure. Once I made it through produce I came to a dead stop and thought WTF do I eat?! And I had no answer. Let me tell you, it was a grim moment indeed.

“But what was the cleanse like?” you ask. Well, you know we deal in full disclosure here. The first few days involved a horrible headache. The crawl-under-your-bed-and-wish-for-death sort of headache that makes you wonder why you thought having kids was a good idea because they need all the things. And there are smells. Weird, unidentifiable smells. Smells that make you question how you’ve been walking around with this sort of rot in your system. It also involved cleanse shakes each day, drinks I stopped calling “shakes” because they did not deserve the name.

So there you have it – the unvarnished truth about detox cleanses. Was it hard? Yes. Was it pleasant? No. Was it worth it? Most definitely.